ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- The Naval Academy freshman class endured 14 continuous hours of rigorous physical and mental challenges during the Academy's annual Sea Trials training exercise May 15 as part of the culmination of their freshman year.
Sea Trials is modeled after the Marine Corps' Crucible and the Navy's Battle Stations recruit programs. It is a "capstone" event for the fourth class midshipmen and serves as a leadership challenge for the upper class who lead each event during the exercise.
The daylong exercise began with a 2:30 a.m. wake-up, followed by an hour of physical training. Then the real work began.
Taking place at different locations throughout the Yard and Naval Support Activity Annapolis, the events include a variety of physical challenges that simulate situations naval and Marine officers might encounter in the fleet.
Before the sun was up, plebes found themselves crawling under barbed wire tunnels carrying supplies and transporting "injured" personnel through the water on stretchers.
Other stations include boat operations where the Midshipmen carry Zodiac boats over their heads before launching them in the Severn River, shore defense, urban security clearance operations, damage control, land navigation, survival skills, simulated bridge defense and demolition, making their way through endurance and obstacle courses and, of course, lots of running.
The overall exercise is designed to test the plebes' teamwork and reinforce their bonds as a company and class.
"Sea Trials is used as a culminating event at the end of the year, so the plebes can be proud of all they've accomplished and all they've learned," said Midshipman 2nd Class Justin Bush, station commander for the "Wet and Sandy" station at which plebes performed various physical exercises on the shore of the Severn River. "My team mates and I, we all work together," said Midshipman 4th Class Keyawna Danai, of 21st Company.
"They don't let anyone fall behind. I'm the slowest runner, but they stick with me and push me every time. "They're my brothers out there," said Danai. "We're definitely a family, and this made our company so much closer."
At the end of Sea Trials, the company of plebes who demonstrated the top unit performance through endurance and spirit during the entire course will be recognized with the "Iron Company" award during a brief presentation.
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